I like riding my bikes. I have useful bikes. They are setup for transportation/utility riding. Even still it can be easy for me to drive when I’m stressed out and short on time. Like yesterday I had a ton of work to do and an appointment 6kms away. As the time got close for the appointment I could hear my inner voice justify the time savings of driving so I could work a bit longer before I left and come back faster. I was planning a Big Dummy cargo bike run in the evening to help a friend move furniture across town so I also used that to justify driving.
Thankfully I’ve done this enough to know that I never regret biking and that biking is important for my health and happiness. So I shutdown the complaining/worrying voice and got on my bike. 2 mins later I was smiling and so glad to be pedaling along instead of pushing down on a gas pedal. It only took me 16mins to get there and I found out the MUP near my house actually goes a lot of the way there [I normally head the opposite direction into town on the MUP].
Going through the mental process of defeating my laziness really demonstrates to me why it is so important to make good choices if you want to establish a healthy lifestyle. If a guy like me who is into biking can be seduced by the car in a moment of weakness than folks who are just starting out on the path of cycling for transportation are going to have it even tougher.
Here are some suggestions for success:
- make biking the default option for getting around and justify each car trip
- have a practical bike ready to roll in good condition
- have a pannier with tools, lock and your bike clothing close at hand
- make sure your bike is comfortable
- pay attention to how you feel after riding to get somewhere vs. driving [use this as motivation]
- when you are ready to justify driving make sure you’ve prioritized your health and given that enough weight in the decision
- work out safe/enjoyable bike routes to the areas of town around you that you often travel to